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Laugh more for your health
Right now, we all need to laugh more. The lockdown means we are more exposed to the constant flow of negative news stories and social media posts which are affecting everyone's mood. We all know that if our mood is low we can feel physically as well as mentally low, and aches and pains become more apparent. Once you start to feel pain then it in turn can have an effect on your mental health and a vicious circle can start.
The physiological benefits of laughter
When you laugh there are several physiological (the physical and chemical functions of the internal systems of the body) benefits.
- Increased oxygen intake. As you laugh you will draw in a larger volume of oxygen, this can help increase you lung capacity.
- Improved blood circulation. Laughter helps increase the oxygen in your blood and stimulates the circulation of oxygen rich blood throughout the body and reduces blood pressure.
- Increases the bodies tolerance to pain by increasing the pain threshold.
- Exercises and relaxes your muscles – have you ever had the belly ache associated with roaring with laughter for several minutes. That occurs when you have given your diaphragm and abdominal muscles a really good work out – similar to doing a gym class.
The psychological benefits of laughter
- Releases endorphins and serotonin, neurotransmitters which are used in the mood control centre of your brain and improve your sense of well-being and your energy levels.
- Reduces the stress hormone cortisol, reducing (and reversing) the bodies response to stress.
- Improves memory and creative thinking processes.
- Laughter is contagious and encouraging others to laugh will help prolong your laughter.
How to build laughter into your life.
For most of us a good belly laugh occurs in the presence of others – laughing at silly stories or jokes, at a funny mishap, or the kids silly antics.
Home alone or with other adults
Right now, lockdown means it is not necessarily possible to be in the physical company of those who make us laugh, so those video calls are essential to help those who don’t have anyone living with them trigger their laughter.
- Try sharing a meal and a few drinks over the call will help to create a more relaxed environment which will encourage laughter.
- Rehash shared funny memories or stories.
- Maybe watching a comedy film will encourage some infectious laughter.
- Play a silly game such as Speak Out, charades or Pictionary.
Home with the kids
For those at home with younger children it is easier, watch them play they have the most infectious giggles, tickle them, chase them, dance with them. Get them to tell you some silly jokes – they will often get them wrong which will make you laugh more. It won’t be long before you are all giggling helplessly and your stomachs will begin to ache.
If you have older kids it may be harder (especially if you need to separate them from their tech), get them involved in thinking up things to do which will help you laugh. It maybe they have some online games that they are happy to play with you, or films that they would be happy to watch with you. Are there any clips they have seen on social media that they are happy to share with you? Are they up for playing to unexpected pranks (nothing dangerous or damaging!)? Try some of the current dance challenges with them. Anything to get them out of their rooms and laughing.
How can osteopathy help?
The more you laugh the easier it will become, and if you find yourself with sore stomach muscles, or accidentally hurt yourself whilst laughing of course your osteopath will be able to show you how to stretch them out. Make sure you tell your osteopath you need to laugh more, they may have a great source of silly stories or jokes to keep you entertained during your appointment, and they will want you to relax so will be happy to encourage you to laugh.
If you are looking for a more inventive way you could try laughter yoga
If you need some help with those aches and pain so you can laugh more then please give us a call on 07474 521 329 or email us at email@example.com